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Max Sher. Kars

“FotoDepartament” Gallery as part of its “Blue” program, dedicated to well-known Russian and foreign photographers, presents:

Max Sher

26 June – 22 July ‘ 2010

Exhibition opening: June, 26, Saturday – the whole day at the “FotoDepartament” Gallery

Many photographers who started out as photojournalists realize sooner or later that photography is totally unfit for ‘objectively’ documenting what is going on around us. I, too, realized that and I can say that this realization is like spacewalk, a true liberation from clichés and limits.

Photography is able to record fragments of external reality, to show how they look like, it can and should impress, stir feelings, associations or thoughts but it is unable to objectively transfer information or tell coherent real stories, especially when not accompanied with a text.

With this in mind, I headed out to the Turkish town of Kars notable for having been part of Russia from 1878 to 1918 and for being the setting for the famous novel ‘Snow’ by Turkish writer and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. This book, people in Kars told me, is not true to facts. ‘Wonderful’, – I thought because my task was either not to create pictures ‘true to facts’. I spent there about a month, taking pictures almost every day, talking to people, drinking raki, strolling around town, collecting impressions and often catching myself thinking how it was all similar to Russia there. Now, these impressions make up this series.

For text, I picked a quote from the 1829 book ‘A Journey to Arzrum’ by Alexander Pushkin.

“I changed from an amble to a round trot and arrived that evening at a Turkish village twelve miles from Kars. Having jumped down from my horse I wanted to enter the first hut, but the owner appeared in the doorway and pushed me away with a shower of abuse. I responded to his welcome with my whip. The Turk started bellowing; a crowd gathered. My guide, it seemed, had interceded on my behalf. I was shown a caravan-serai; I entered a large hut resembling a cattle shed; there was nowhere to spread my cloak. I demanded a horse. The Turkish headman came over to me. To all his incomprehensible words I gave the same reply: verbana at (give me a horse). The Turks would not agree. Finally I had the sense to show them money (which I should have done in the first place). A horse was brought immediately and I was given a guide. I rode along a wide valley, surrounded by hills. Soon I saw Kars, standing out white on one of them. My Turk kept pointing it out to me, repeating ‘Kars, Kars!’ and put his horse into a gallop. I followed him tormented by anxiety: it was in Kars that my fate would be decided”. (Translated by Brigitta Ingemanson).

It so happened that my photographic fate was also to be decided in Kars.
Max Sher

Max Sher is a photographer based in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was born in 1975. From 1986 to 1998, he lived in Siberia. After obtaining a degree in French linguistics he worked as translator but then decided to start a new career path as photographer. Since 2006, Max has been photographing in various Russian regions (Caucasus, Siberia, Urals, Astrakhan, etc.) as well as in Belarus, Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kazakhstan, Turkey etc., both as part of his personal projects and on commissions. His work appeared in le Monde, Courrier International, The Economist, la Repubblica, Ogoniok, Afisha, Bolshoi Gorod, GEO Traveler, Private, Der Spiegel, etc. and was exhibited in St.Petersburg, New York, Vienna, Moscow, among others. Max was nominated for KLM Paul Huf Awards in 2008. Max is represented by

FotoDepartament Gallery – is the unique photography gallery in Saint-Petersburg. First the gallery presents contemporary Russian art and documentary photography. The exhibition program of the gallery includes three directions of work named as three channels of photography – RGB:
Red /Red Light – – the program dedicated to the authors’ techniques of manual print.
Green  – program of emerging photographers exhibitions.
Blue – series of exhibitions by well-known and experienced Russian and foreign photographers.

For press:
Tel. +7 (901) 301-7994

All photographs are available for purchase. Please, contact FotoDepartament Gallery, Nadya Sheremetova  / +7-901-301-7994